Ripple Transportation System
A transportation system that uses waves of data to balance the flow of traffic
WHAT IS RIPPLE?
The Ripple transportation system consists of multi-modal mobility stops called Ripple Points, a network of sensors called Ripple Waves, and a mobile touchpoint called Ripple Drop. Together, they give control to the rider so that they can consciously use transportation as a means to be more physically active, get to their location faster, or reduce their carbon footprint.
As cities and roads become more crowded, the existing public transportation system will no longer be efficient enough to meet the increased demand. Using a network of smart city data points, Ripple optimizes the flow of people on the road. Ripple makes transportation more personalized and more fluid so that riders can always get the most suitable type of transportation.
I worked on this project with Ruby He and Gerald Warhaftig. We started by using surveys and interviews to help us understand the general problems within transportation. Among our insights, a key takeaway was that commuters didn’t like the lack of control or the duration of wait. We mapped out the causes and effects of waiting during traffic, and the types of data that could be useful.
Bus Stop Focus
Within the different areas of transportation, we decided to focus on buses, because that would likely be the most used form of above-ground transportation in the future, and because currently people spend a lot of time waiting at bus stops. We made interactive make-tools, interviewed people, observed, and sent surveys to find out about rider's problems, needs, and desires. We analyzed what riders could spend that waiting time doing, and focused on increasing productivity at bus stops so that the dead-time can be used for activities that are more meaningful.
Building Community Via Transportation
Because of the increased population and demand for space in the future, there will be less shared community areas such as front lawns, community pools, etc, and consequently people who live nearby won't have a means for easy interaction. Without building strong relationships with the people around them, people will feel less ownership in their living places, and be less inclined to contribute to area-based improvements. Bus stops are public spaces that will remain present in the future, where people can interact with their neighbors and build a community identity.
Modes of Transport
Currently bus stops are used out of habit. Common commuters know which buses go to their destination, and always take the same buses, even if it's not the fastest or cheapest method of traveling. What if we made transportation more accessible by breaking down the barriers of mode-based transport? By offering more than one mode of transportation at a stop, people don't have to wait for more than they need to. We researched the pros and cons of busing, walking, biking, and car-sharing (in a future of autonomous vehicles, more emphasis will be placed on being eco-friendly, and car ownership will decrease significantly), and designed around what a rider would need to know to choose between their transport options.
Solution & Development
To avoid traffic (areas of perpetuated deceleration), Ubers will not stop at any point along the road except at Ripple Points. The Ripple Points themselves are designed with an indent to allow vehicles to pull up without stopping traffic on the main road. Bike lanes will go around the stop to provide bikers with safety against buses and cars. The bike racks have Ripple Wave sensors that upload bike availability data and detect who returns which bikes. The bikes themselves send location data, and can provide audible directions on the road so that even novice riders can navigate with ease. Autonomous buses and cars will also charge rider fees automatically when riders get on and off by syncing with the Ripple Drop app to provide a more seamless experience. When riders arrive at the point, Ripple Wave sensors equip them with knowledge about the ETA of the fastest mode(s) of transportation, community members going in the same direction, and suggested modes based on travel trends. Through the use of data, Ripple connects people, gives riders control over how they travel, and provides flexibility in transportation.